Shaadval

From Dawn of Hope
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A city located at the western edge of the Great Eastern Dustlands. Once known as the "Bridge between East and West," it was the chokepoint through which all east-west trade flowed during the latter half of the Third Age. But its glory days are well behind it, and the decline is not solely due to the Cataclysm and attendant disruptions. Quan Pei which once dominated the entire eastern half of the continent had been in decadent decline for generations even before that, and the trade routes had become progressively more dangerous (and as a result less traveled) for about a hundred years. By 50 BC, the high roads and desert waystations had fallen into almost total disrepair and duster tribes had abandoned their treaty obligations to protect travelers (just as their reciprocal rights of trade and aid had been neglected). By 200 AC, the city's permanent population had dropped from nearly 100,000 to a mere 4,000. Over the following 50 years, the city has somewhat recovered as a home for mercenary groups who hire out in the bordering provinces of the Jinse Empire and Shaanti border protectorates, as well as who fight in the northern frontier vs the Hagfen. Its current permanent population is about 8,000, with another 2-3k mercenaries during the off season.

By treaty with its neighbors, Shaadval is neutral grounds. It stretches approximately two days ride (~60 miles) around the Triune Oasis that serves as the city's heart.

Demographics

The permanent population is broken out as follows:

  • ~3500 humans and human-dominant crossbreeds. Use the Jinse phenotype (vaguely asian/feather indian look, tall, dark hair, medium-brown skin). Red hair and red-toned skin relatively common. Also heavily crossbred with ihmisi and orcs.
  • ~1500 tieflings
  • ~1200 ihmisi (and ihmisi-dominant crossbreeds). Darker and less forest-oriented, they've lost most of their kami worship and worship ancestors and devils.
  • ~1000 goblinoids. Relatively civilized.
  • ~800 orcs (and orc-dominant crossbreeds). Strong honor culture.

Culture

  • Strong family/clan honor culture. Don't disrespect the elders. Polygyny is common (well more like concubinage + the male equivalent, generally temporary). Large age differences between dominant and less dominant partners are common (girls being married/given at puberty to a man in his 40s or 50s, boys in their teens being given to a woman in her 40s-60s). Children born of these concubines belong to the dominant partner's family, and such arrangements generally last only a few years. Some poorer families will serially sell their attractive children to several more powerful clans in turn in return for dowries. Concubines are generally treated well.
  • Debt peonage is common, but non-generational. Maximum time limit (by law) of 7 years, although many end up getting hired back by that family again or marrying into the family. Not considered super shameful.
  • Strong hospitality rules, especially among the Suu (and related clans). Sharing water is a covenant of peace…for a while.
  • Devious infighting among clans behind smiling faces. Poison and assassins are not uncommon. Killed if caught, but that's about all.
  • Essentially no nudity taboo inside. Relatively promiscuous. Use of magic/herbs to prevent disease & pregnancy is very common. But by consent only. Rape or assault is punished heavily (an eye or a hand)
  • Petty thievery is common and harshly punished if caught. But most don't take strong measures. The Uuru (thieves' guild) protects and polices their own.
  • Scrupulous and fair, if hard bargained trade. Cheating is punished by exile or execution, especially cheating by adulteration of product or magical compulsion. Triumvirate guards (mostly Zhuun) watch the markets.
  • Laws govern magic use. The Akild (Wise Ones) watch over and look for cases of magical compulsion or other such things. Known as the Red Robes (for the red robes and masks that they wear).

Government

Shaadval is governed by a Triumvirate--the family heads of the three most powerful noble families working together. The other noble families are mostly clients of these three. As of 250 AC, the Triumvirate is comprised of

  • Ivars Zhuun (Lord Wool). The oldest of the three at 67, he remembers the disruption caused by the Dragonbotherers and is inclined not to trust adventurers. His chosen area of responsibility is trade. He has ties to the dragon-led nations to the south.
  • Y'leni Bolota (Lord Steel). At 37, Y'leni is a hard-bitten woman who took leadership of her family after assassins (believed to be in the pay of Lord Shu of neighboring Shu Province) killed her parents when she was only 15. She believes in strength first. She has very few compunctions in playing the Great Game. She is largely responsible for interfacing with the mercenary companies.
  • Maksim Suu (Lord Water). 38 years old, Maksim is of nomad blood (as is his Suu family, which traditionally takes wives from the neighboring duster tribes). He chafes somewhat at the Great Game. A highly honorable man, he believes in omens and traditions. His primary concern is the Dead Walkers.

Mercenary Companies

Four major companies of various sizes call Shaadval home base and have some sort of continual presence in the immediate area. Others, as well as free-lance mercenary bands, also have presence in the city. The four major companies are

  • Gar'ok's Sappers. A specialized engineering company made up of orcs and goblinoids. At only 150 actives, they're the smallest of the companies. Only a few of them are currently present--most are involved in the siege at Jin Ro'pal. A brass gear on black, with a lit fuse
  • Hoof and Bow. A specialized skirmisher double-company. A group of ihmisi, they're related to the Altai and draw their recruits from there. 450 effectives, plus another 150 horsebreakers. They're in town after an early-spring campaign against incursions from Shaera into Shu Province. A hoof and a bow.
  • Kalkan's Foot. A combined arms battalion (850 effectives). Traditionally strongest as heavy infantry, they've also acquired archer and skirmisher companies recently. Currently mustering out for an extended campaign on the border of the Hagfen on behalf of Shaanti. Iron cross, black on red.
  • Rorlo's Raiders. A rough, somewhat cobbled-together group known for their effective use of magic and their lack of scruples as to jobs they take. About 500 effectives. Currently between contracts, they took this year off after a major contract the previous year. A key, white on black. Usually wear a tattoo.

Neighbors

  • Shu Province. While technically part of the Jinse Empire, they only pay token respect to the capital. One common property they have is their ready acceptance of diabolical aid. Constantly involved in border squabbles with the neighboring Shaanti Zhao Protectorate. Currently in possession of Jin Ro'pal, a fortress city surrounded by Shaanti territory.
  • Zhao Protectorate . Formerly part of Jinse, the Zhao rebelled and went over to Shaanti about 30 years ago. Not entirely cohesive, but backed by some very wealthy individuals. Continual struggles with Shu Province. They are allies with the Azeri and both contribute men and equipment in the containment efforts against the Hagfen to the north.
  • Altai. Ihmisi tribal confederation. Horse and sheep. More tied in with civilization than most. Due to poorer lands, they hire many of their people out as mercenaries.
  • Chuvashka. The traditional allies of Shaadval among the duster tribes. Detest the Dead Walkers, as they continually lose people to the heretics.
  • Azeri. Orcs. Very superstitious. Militant and proud warriors. Don't mind the Dead Walkers all that much and are one of the few who willingly cooperate with them against the Hagfen.
  • Dugai. A dying tribe, squeezed from all sides. Their only refuge is a rich oasis hidden in the broken lands. Peharzh in particular pushes on them, and weak leadership in the past has led many to defect either north or south.
  • Bashkai. Once part of Dugai, they broke off about 40 years ago. They hate dragons.
  • Pelotai. Orcs. Consider themselves the "true heirs" of Gromash. Honorable but brutal.
  • Peharzh. Ruled by two dragon flights under the leadership of Pehar (an ancient Copper), the Peharzh tribes are aggressive and uncompromising. They'll take anyone that is willing to fight.
  • Shaera. A pair of flights led by two ancients (Shar, an ancient blue and Erai, an adult Gold), they've actually made somewhat of a civilization out of local goblinoid and human tribes. After the idiotic behavior of the Dragonbotherers, they have lost trust in outsiders. This trust was mostly restored by Enigma in late summer 250 AC. They regularly raid their neighbors and demand tribute (which Shaadval pays).
  • Dead Walkers. Not direct neighbors, but their presence warps local politics.